You wonder how it could happen. Thursday a 62-year-old employee was found cooked to death at a California plant used for tuna maker Bumble Bee Foods. Jose Melena was found just before 7 a.m. at the plant located in Santa Fe Springs, CA. He was found inside what is known as a “steamer machine.
At this time authorities have no idea how he ended up there. They also do not mention if the plant was in active production at the time. CalOSHA is investigating.
It is perhaps easiest to unfairly judge accidents such as this when you do not know the processes involved in the production work of a particular facility. Still, it is hard to imagine how something like this could happen. We would assume that such a facility would have appropriate safety equipment such as rails and non slip surfaces. Was he performing maintenance, and lock out/tag out procedures not followed? Did he lose consciousness for some reason and workers were unaware he was there? Or was there something more sinister at play? Were Mr. Melena, and his employer by extension, victims of some sort of foul play?
Hopefully investigators will be able to determine the cause, and the mans family can get answers to questions they no doubt hold. The company needs answers as well, as an apparent accident such as this can have strong negative effects on a consumable products image. We should let this incident serve as a reminder that just about anything can go wrong, and companies need to be prepared to deal with almost any contingency.
Bumble Bee Foods says operations at the canning facility will be suspended until Monday. I would have mentioned something about an equipment change, if I were them. Not sure a simple hose out will fix the image embedded in my mind. I for one may not be able to look at the cans of Bumble Bee Tuna in my pantry in the same way ever again.